Coronavirus severely impacts employees with disabilities, survey suggests

The unemployment rate among employees with disabilities was 41% in February before the corona outbreak, and has since increased to 62% in October, according to the survey.

A protective face mask is seen as curbs to fight the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reimposed after a rise in new cases, at Zikim beach in southern Israel July 21, 2020. Picture taken July 21, 2020. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
A protective face mask is seen as curbs to fight the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reimposed after a rise in new cases, at Zikim beach in southern Israel July 21, 2020. Picture taken July 21, 2020.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
The coronavirus crisis has disproportionately affected people with disabilities, Ynet reported.
The unemployment rate among employees with disabilities was 41% in February before the coronavirus outbreak, and has since increased to 62% in October, Ynet reported, citing a survey conducted by the Myers-Joint-Brookdale Institute for the Equal Rights Commission for People with Disabilities. Some 473 employees with disabilities participated in the survey.
These findings reflect a September Knesset report, which found that two-thirds of people with disabilities lost their jobs or were furloughed – a rate approximately four times higher than the rate of job loss in the general population. Chairman of the State Control Committee MK Ofer Shelah said that this “necessitates a national emergency response plan.”
The survey and Knesset report illustrate that employees with disabilities have been dismissed at higher rates than those without disabilities – and therefore are expected to take longer to return to the labor market. 

Israel currently has about 1.5 million people with disabilities, who make up about 17% of the population, according to Ynet. Of these, about 780,000 are of working age.
Evidently, many have often found themselves not taken in account in the constant changes and guidelines regarding coronavirus. 
"This is a very worrying figure," Equal Rights for People with Disabilities commissioner Abrami Torem said, according to the Ynet. He is concerned that "employers have taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis to part ways with employees with disabilities" and that "the trend raises fear that the coronavirus will take us back almost a decade in the employment rate of workers with disabilities." 

In order to combat the unemployment crisis, Torem says that Israel needs to "create incentives for employers to bring people with disabilities back to the workforce – and soon." 
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.